26 CFR § 1.280H-1T - Limitation on certain amounts paid to employee-owners by personal service corporations electing alternative taxable years (temporary).

§ 1.280H-1T Limitation on certain amounts paid to employee-owners by personal service corporations electing alternative taxable years (temporary).

(a) Introduction. This section applies to any taxable year that a personal service corporation has a section 444 election in effect (an “applicable election year”). For purposes of this section, the term personal service corporation has the same meaning given such term in § 1.441-3(c).

(b) Limitation on certain deductions of personal service corporations -

(1) In general. If, for any applicable election year, a personal service corporation does not satisfy the minimum distribution requirement in paragraph (c) of this section, the deduction otherwise allowable under chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the Code) for applicable amounts, as defined in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, shall not exceed the maximum deductible amount, as defined in paragraph (d) of this section.

(2) Carryover of nondeductible amounts. Any amount not allowed as a deduction in an applicable election year under paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall be allowed as a deduction in the succeeding taxable year.

(3) Disallowance inapplicable for certain purposes. The disallowance of deductions under paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall not apply for purposes of subchapter G of chapter 1 of the Code (relating to corporations used to avoid income tax on shareholders) nor for determining whether the compensation of employee-owners is reasonable. Thus, for example, in determining whether a personal service corporation is subject to the accumulated earnings tax imposed by section 531, deductions disallowed under paragraph (b)(1) of this section are treated as allowed in computing accumulated taxable income.

(4) Definition of applicable amount -

(i) In general. For purposes of section 280H and the regulations thereunder, the term applicable amount means, with respect to a taxable year, any amount that is otherwise deductible by a personal service corporation in such year and includable at any time, directly or indirectly, in the gross income of a taxpayer that during such year is an employee-owner. Thus, an amount includable in the gross income of an employee-owner will be considered an applicable amount even though such employee owns no stock of the corporation on the date the employee includes the amount in income. See Example 1 in paragraph (b)(4)(iii) of this section.

(ii) Special rule for certain indirect payments. For purposes of paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section, amounts are indirectly includable in the gross income of an employee-owner of a personal service corporation that has made a section 444 election (an electing personal service corporation) if the amount is includable in the gross income of -

(A) The spouse (other than a spouse who is legally separated from the partner or shareholder under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance) or child (under age 14) of such employee-owner, or

(B) A corporation more than 50 percent (measured by fair market value) of which is owned in the aggregate by employee-owners (and individuals related under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(A) of this section to such employee-owners), of the electing personal service corporation, or

(C) A partnership more than 50 percent of the profits and capital of which is owned by employee-owners (and individuals related under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(A) of this section to such employee-owners) of the electing personal service corporation, or

(D) A trust more than 50 percent of the beneficial ownership of which is owned in the aggregate by employee-owners (and individuals related under paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(A) of this section to any such employee-owners), of the electing personal service corporation.

For purposes of this paragraph (b)(4)(ii), ownership by any person described in this paragraph (b)(4)(ii) shall be treated as ownership by the employee-owners of the electing personal service corporation. Paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section will not apply if the corporation has made a section 444 election to use the same taxable year as that of the electing personal service corporation. Similarly, paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(C) of this section will not apply if the partnership has made a section 444 election to use the same taxable year as that of the electing personal service corporation. Notwithstanding the general effective date provision of paragraph (f) of this section, this paragraph (b)(4)(ii) is effective for amounts deductible on or after June 1, 1988.

(iii) Example. The provisions of paragraph (b)(4) of this section may be illustrated by the following examples.

Example 1.
A is an employee of P, an accrual basis personal service corporation with a taxable year ending September 30. P makes a section 444 election for its taxable year beginning October 1, 1987. On October 1, 1987, A owns no stock of P; However, on March 31, 1988, A acquires 10 of the 200 outstanding shares of P stock. During the period October 1, 1987 to March 31, 1988, A earned $40,000 of compensation as an employee of P. During the period April 1, 1988 to September 30 1988, A earned $60,000 of compensation as an employee-owner of P. If paragraph (b) of this section does not apply, P would deduct for its taxable year ended September 30, 1988 the $100,000 earned by A during such year. Based upon these facts, the $100,000 otherwise deductable amount is considered an applicable amount under this section.
Example 2.
I1 and I2, calendar year individuals, are employees of PSC1, a personal service corporation that has historically used a taxable year ending January 31. I1 and I2 also own all the stock, and are employees, of PSC2, a calendar year personal service corporation. For its taxable years beginning February 1, 1987, 1988, and 1989, PSC1 has a section 444 election in effect to use a January 31 taxable year. During its taxable years beginning February 1, 1986, 1987, and 1988, PSC1 deducted $10,000, $11,000, and $12,000, respectively, that was included in PSC2's gross income. Furthermore, of the $12,000 deducted by PSC1 for its taxable year beginning February 1, 1988, $7,000 was deducted during the period June 1, 1988 to January 31, 1989. Pursuant to paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section, the $7,000 deducted by PSC1 on or after June 1, 1988, and included in PSC2's gross income is considered an applicable amount for PSC1's taxable year beginning February 1, 1988. Amounts deducted by PSC1 prior to June 1, 1988, are not subject to paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section.
Example 3.
The facts are the same as in Example 2, except that for its taxable years beginning February 1, 1987, 1988, and 1989, PSC2 has a section 444 election in effect to use a January 31 taxable year. Since both PSC1 and PSC2 have the same taxable year and both have section 444 elections in effect, paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section does not apply to the $7,000 deducted by PSC1 for its taxable year beginning February 1, 1988.

(c) Minimum distribution requirement -

(1) Determination of whether requirement satisfied -

(i) In general. A personal service corporation meets the minimum distribution requirement of this paragraph (c) for an applicable election year if, during the deferral period of such taxable year, the applicable amounts (determined without regard to paragraph (b)(2) of this section) for all employee-owners in the aggregate equal or exceed the lesser of -

(A) The amount determined under the “preceding year test” (see paragraph (c)(2) of this section), or

(B) The amount determined under the “3-year average test” (see paragraph (c)(3) of this section).

The following example illustrates the application of this paragraph (c)(1)(i).
Example.
Q, an accrual-basis personal service corporation, makes a section 444 election to retain a year ending January 31 for its taxable year beginning February 1, 1987. Q has 4 employee-owners, B, C, D, and E. For Q's applicable election year beginning February 1, 1987 and ending January 31, 1988, B earns $6,000 a month plus a $45,000 bonus on January 15, 1988; C earns $5,000 a month plus a $40,000 bonus on January 15, 1988; D and E each earn $4,500 a month plus a $4,000 bonus on January 15, 1988. Q meets the minimum distribution requirement for such applicable election year if the applicable amounts during the deferral period (i.e., $220,000) equal or exceed the amount determined under the preceding year test or the 3-year average test.

(ii) Employee-owner defined. For purposes of section 280H and the regulations thereunder, a person is an employee-owner of a corporation for a taxable year if -

(A) On any day of the corporation's taxable year, the person is an employee of the corporation or performs personal services for or on behalf of the corporation, even if the legal form of that person's relationship to the corporation is that of an independent contractor, and

(B) On any day of the corporation's taxable year, the person owns any outstanding stock of the corporation.

(2) Preceding year test -

(i) In general. The amount determined under the preceding year test is the product of -

(A) The applicable amounts during the taxable year preceding the applicable election year (the “preceding taxable year”), divided by the number of months (but not less than one) in the preceding taxable year, multiplied by

(B) The number of months in the deferral period of the applicable election year.

(ii) Example. The provisions of paragraph (c)(2) of this section may be illustrated by the following example.

Example.
R, a personal service corporation, has historically used a taxable year ending January 31. For its taxable year beginning February 1, 1987, R makes a section 444 election to retain its January 31 taxable year. R is an accrual basis taxpayer and has one employee-owner, F. For R's taxable year ending January 31, 1987, F earns $5,000 a month plus a $40,000 bonus on January 15, 1987. The amount determined under the preceding year test for R's applicable election year beginning February 1, 1987 is $91,667 ($100,000, the applicable amounts during R's taxable year ending January 31, 1987, divided by 12, the number of months in R's taxable year ending January 31, 1987, multiplied by 11, the number of months in R's deferral period for such year).

(3) 3-year average test -

(i) In general. The amount determined under the 3-year average test is the applicable percentage multiplied by the adjusted taxable income for the deferral period of the applicable election year.

(ii) Applicable percentage. The term applicable percentage means the percentage (not in excess of 95 percent) determined by dividing -

(A) The applicable amounts during the 3 taxable years of the corporation (or, if fewer, the taxable years the corporation has been in existence) immediately preceding the applicable election year, by

(B) The adjusted taxable income of such corporation for such 3 taxable years (or, if fewer, the taxable years of existence).

(iii) Adjusted taxable income -

(A) In general. The term adjusted taxable income means taxable income determined without regard to applicable amounts.

(B) Determination of adjusted taxable income for the deferral period of the applicable election year. Adjusted taxable income for the deferral period of the applicable election year equals the adjusted taxable income that would result if the personal service corporation filed an income tax return for the deferral period of the applicable election year under its normal method of accounting. However, a personal service corporation may make a reasonable estimate of such amount.

(C) NOL carryovers. For purposes of determining adjusted taxable income for any period, any NOL carryover shall be reduced by the amount of such carryover that is attributable to the deduction of applicable amounts. The portion of the NOL carryover attributable to the deduction of applicable amounts is the difference between the NOL carryover computed with the deduction of such amounts and the NOL carryover computed without the deduction of such amounts. For purposes of determining the adjusted taxable income for the deferral period, an NOL carryover to the applicable election year, reduced as provided in this paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(C), shall be allowed first against the income of the deferral period.

(D) Examples. The provisons of this paragraph (c)(3)(iii) may be illustrated by the following examples.

Example 1.
S is a personal service corporation that has historically used a taxable year ending January 31. For its taxable year beginning February 1, 1987, S makes a section 444 election to retain its taxable year ending January 31. S does not satisfy the minimum distribution requirement for its first applicable election year, and the applicable amounts for that year exceed the maximum deductible amount by $54,000. Under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the $54,000 excess is carried over to S's taxable year beginning February 1, 1988. Furthermore, if S continues its section 444 election for its taxable year beginning February 1, 1988, and desires to use the 3-year average test provided in this paragraph for such year, pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(A) of this section the $54,000 will not be allowed to reduce adjusted taxable income for such year. See also section 280H(e) regarding the disallowance of net operating loss carrybacks to (or from) any taxable year of a corporation personal service election under section 444 applies.
Example 2.
T, a personal service corporation with a section 444 election in effect, is determining whether it satisfies the 3-year average test for its second applicable election year. T had a net operating loss (NOL) for its first applicable election year of $45,000. The NOL resulted from $150,000 of gross income less the sum of $96,000 of salary, $45,000 of other expenses, and $54,000 of deductible applicable amounts. Pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(iii)(C) of this section, the entire amount of the $45,000 NOL is attributable to applicable amounts since the applicable amounts deducted in arriving at the NOL (i.e., $54,000) were greater than the NOL (i.e., $45,000). Thus, for purposes of computing the adjusted taxable income for the deferral period of T's second applicable election year, the NOL carryover to that year is $0 ($45,000 NOL less $45,000 amount of NOL attributable to applicable amounts).

(d) Maximum deductible amount -

(1) In general. For purposes of this section, the term maximum deductible amount means the sum of -

(i) The applicable amounts during the deferral period of the applicable election year, plus

(ii) An amount equal to the product of -

(A) The amount determined under paragraph (d)(1)(i) of this section divided by the number of months in the deferral period of the applicable election year, multiplied by

(B) The number of months in the nondeferral period of the applicable election year. For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term nondeferral period means the portion of the applicable election year that occurs after the portion of such year constituting the deferral period.

(2) Example. The provisions of paragraph (d)(1) of this section may be illustrated by the following example.

Example.
U, an accrual basis personal service corporation with a taxable year ending January 31, makes a section 444 election to retain a year ending January 31 for its taxable year beginning February 1, 1987. For its applicable election year beginning February 1, 1987, U does not satisfy the minimum distribution requirement in paragraph (c) of this section. Furthermore, U has 3 employee-owners, G, H, and I. G and H have been employee-owners of U for 10 years. Although I has been an employee of U for 4 years, I did not become an employee-owner until December 1, 1987, when I acquired 5 of the 20 outstanding shares of U stock. For U's applicable election year beginning February 1, 1987, G earns $5,000 a month plus a $40,000 bonus on January 15, 1988, and H and I each earn $4,000 a month plus a $32,000 bonus on January 15, 1988. Thus, the total of the applicable amounts during the deferral period of the applicable election year beginning February 1, 1987 is $143,000. Based on these facts, U's deduction for applicable amounts is limited to $156,000, determined as follows - $143,000 (applicable amounts during the deferral period) plus $13,000 (applicable amounts during the deferral period, divided by the number of months in the deferral period, multiplied by the number of months in the nondeferral period).

(e) Special rules and definition -

(1) Newly organized personal service corporations. A personal service corporation is deemed to satisfy the preceding year test and the 3-year average test for the first year of the corporation's existence.

(2) Existing corporations that become personal service corporations. If an existing corporation becomes a personal service corporation and makes a section 444 election, the determination of whether the corporation satisfies the preceding year test and the 3-year average test is made by treating the corporation as though it were a personal service corporation for each of the 3 years preceding the applicable election year.

(3) Disallowance of NOL carryback. No net operating loss carryback shall be allowed to (or from) any applicable election year of a personal service corporation.

(4) Deferral period. For purposes of section 280H and the regulations thereunder, the term deferral period has the same meaning as under § 1.444-1T(b)(4).

(5) Examples. The provisions of this paragraph (e) may be illustrated by the following examples.

Example 1.
V is a personal service corporation with a taxable year ending September 30. V makes a section 444 election for its taxable year beginning October 1, 1987, and incurs a net operating loss (NOL) for such year. Because an NOL is not allowed to be carried back from an applicable election year, V may not carry back the NOL from its first applicable election year to reduce its 1985, 1986, or 1987 taxable income.
Example 2.
W, a personal service corporation, commences operations on July 1, 1990. Furthermore, for its taxable year beginning July 1, 1990, W makes a section 444 election to use a year ending September 30. Pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section, W satisfies the preceding year test and the 3-year average test for its first year in existence. Thus, W may deduct, without limitation under this section, any applicable amounts for its taxable year beginning July 1, 1990.
Example 3.
The facts are the same as in Example 2. For its taxable year beginning October 1, 1990, W incurs an NOL and is not a personal service corporation. Furthermore, W desires to carry back the NOL to its preceding taxable year (a year that was an applicable election year). Pursuant to paragraph (e)(3) of this section, W may not carry back an NOL “to” its taxable year beginning July 1, and ending September 30, 1990, because such year was an applicable election year.

(f) Effective date. The provisions of this section are effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 1986.

[T.D. 8205, 53 FR 19711, May 27, 1988]